Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This was my first taste of John Scalzi. I heard that he is one of the most popular Science Fiction writers in the realm of Sci-Fi fandom. A quick search revealed that he is a very popular blogger who made good becoming a successful published writer. Listening to this book it is clear that he understands the SF world inside and out. It is nice to get all the insider jokes and well loved SF tropes. His sense of humor is much appreciated. It is clear that tongue-in-cheek is standard operating procedure for Scalzi. I like that.
That said, there is an element of this book that almost caused me to bail. The numerous reviews mentioning the obnoxious repetition of “he said,” “she said” is truly annoying. The repeated use of these dialog identifiers as first seems to be just a beginner’s mistake. Such markers are easy to ignore visually when reading a book in print, but with a narrator charged with speaking every word on the printed page the listener is forced to endure every “he said” until it becomes a dreaded anticipation, like waiting for that pesky mosquito to lite on your leg again after shooing it away for the umpteenth time.
After listening to this book I decided to try another Scalzi book, AGENT TO THE STARS and am pleased to report that no such overuse of “he said,” “she said” is present in that book. This begs the question: Is Scalzi just playing with his audience? From listening to that second book it is clear that Scalzi knows how to write dialog with a minimum of character identifiers, so why all the “he said,” “she said” repetitions here?
Fortunately the wonderfully sarcastic Wil Wheaton is the narrator. When voicing these “he said,” “she said” sections Wheaton lilts his voice to emphasize each one in just the right way as if to say, “I get it. This is really annoying.” Half way into the book I began to look forward to hearing Wheaton speak my frustration. He makes these awkward dialog scenes into an ongoing joke. If the story had been less interesting I would have abandoned the book long before the end, but I realized that I liked Scalzi’s plot construction, and proliferation of SF ideas. If you are new to Scalzi, I don’t recommend listening to this book first. The dialog will likely put you off, and that would be a shame. Try AGENT TO THE STARS for a better example of what he is capable of. But do return to this one if you can handle brushing away those pesky mosquitoes.
Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit
Wil Wheaton is fantastic as a narrator - his performance alone brings the overall score of this book up to 4 stars. He is the perfect match to John Scalzi's cleverly written comedic action-adventure. This is the kind of book that plays in your brain like a movie - I could easily see this being turned into a script and put on the big screen. The story moves fast and the characters are easy to like - snarky, intelligent, and just plain fun. I really like this lighter version of sci-fi that doesn't require one to have a degree from MIT to follow - I'm sure it breaks a million scientific laws but to me it sounds all perfectly plausible and gets me excited for a future where I could have a monster sidekick to pal around with and to eat annoying people for me. This one is Spaceballs on crack - enjoy!
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
I've now listened to all four John Scalzi novels narrated by Wil Wheaton. But this is the first one I've listened to after reading the print edition. I would rate the print edition exactly the same way -- four stars for a humorous science fiction tale that hits a number of bulls-eyes, starting with the fun and funny standard that I apply to these kinds of novels.
But the audio edition is indeed better. And that's because of Wil Wheaton's narration. This type of book is by definition going to be better in audio if the narrator gets his comic timing down, and Wil Wheaton never fails to deliver. I look forward to the upcoming release, in audio, of the next Scalzi-Wheaton collaboration.
What I like best is that it's fun and funny. But to dig a little deeper, what I like best is the way Scalzi transposes present-day Washingtonian politics, world diplomacy, crackpot religion, and hacker technology into a future where Earth is a version of the U.S. that exists in an interplanetary setting filled with extraterrestrial cultures. It provides a recognizable context to that future, while at the same time using that imagined future to comment comically on our current way of doing things.
I especially like the sections where Scalzi explains what things are like in the future and how they got that way -- how Creek sets up his intelligent agent computer system, how the Nidu and UNE stack up militarily, how the Scientology-like Church of the Evolved Lamb came into being. That's where Sclazi gets to be at his funniest and where Wheaton's narration works best.
But for specific scenes, there is the mall chase, the battle simulation, the cruise ship escape, the denouement at the Nidu coronation ceremony where everything is resolved -- but the best scene by a country mile is the opening scene were a mid-level UNE trade negotiator enrages an extraterrestrial diplomat via flatulence. Hilarious!
Although the title is a direct nod to P.K. Dick's best known book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the basis for the movie Blade Runner), and there is one mention of it again within the book, the story otherwise had nothing whatsoever to do with PKD or his novel. If that's what you're looking for, it's not here, not beyond the hommage in the title.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
Scalzi is the Christopher Moore of science fiction. He is terribly clever and witty and is sure to make you laugh. Wheaton is a fantastic narrator of this sort of techie fluff--it seems to come so naturally to him. However, I wish he would talk a little more slowly, so I could have time to digest the witticisms before he races on to the next bit.
You will certainly get the sci-fi in a Scalzi book but comedy reigns, really. If you are prepared for that and if you love satire, you should enjoy this book as much as the many reviewers did.
I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.
I've been listening to a bunch of Wheaton/Scalzi books lately. They never seem to disappoint. This one too.
The story is absurd and odd, but somehow everything makes sense and fits together. The author is talented at creating unusual characters, particularly alien characters, who don't operate based on our logic, but somehow their decisions still make sense based on their own motivations in the story universe.
Scalzi manages to give us enough made up backstory and "history" and cultural background to ground his characters in a "real" fictional world without bogging down the story with heavy info dumps.
Also, Will Wheaton is excellent.
Avid audiobook addict!
This is an extremely well written book. Although I haven't enjoyed some of Wil Wheaton's narration in other books, this one is absolutely perfect for him. No wonder that this book has become a classic for scifi geeks!
This was my first audiobook listen, so I've decided to come back and give credit where it's due. This story is original, creative, addictive, involved, and many more words that could be used to describe the awesomeness that is The Android's Dream. I have listened to this book 4 times since my purchase and it has led me into the universe of stories that Scalzi has created. If you enjoy humor and science fiction, get this book! Oh, I have to mention that the performance by Mr. Wheaton is pretty amazing!
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
I've read several of Scalzi's books now. They are light, entertaining, well-paced and just surprising enough to keep me coming back.
I've never been blown away by Scalzi... he is very creative, but his execution never quite matches the the promise of his premise.
Always fun. Never amazing.
I'll be back anyway.
This is sci-fi meets political thriller meets satire meets action. Its hard to classifiy this book since there is so much going on. Seriously it would take 4 paragraphs to summarize the plot but here goes my attempt in about 4 sentences. There is a political snafu (a pretty funny one actually) between earth and an interstellar ally (more like "frenemies" than allies here). To make up for this Earth must supply this ally with a sheep - yes a sheep. They need it for their coronation ceremony. If they don't get it then the kingship is up for grabs. Needless to say this rare sheep keeps getting more rare because rivals are killing it faster than anyone can collect one. It turns out the DNA is all that matters and this is where things get wierd - no spoilers but it turns out we CAN find the DNA of one. The difficult part is keeping all the various groups struggling for this DNA from getting their hands on it before the hero can save Earth. Everyone from the interstellar ally rival factions to a religious cult based on this sheep is after it.
This is a pretty fast paced book and I was never board. I was amazed that Scalzi was able to weave so many threads together so tightly and expertly.